On Dec. 28th, 2009, Jen and I decided to paint our hallway and giant bookshelf in the house...it was the last thing in the house that needed to be done before our son Levi was to join us in our home. We had a couple of friends come over to help us paint and later play some games that night. It was a very normal day. Jen and I got to bed at about 11:15ish I think that night and Jen had mentioned she was feeling some cramps. We both figured it could be the cramps that come for some women at this stage in pregnancy. So we just agreed that she did a lot that day and needed her rest and the next day would be better. About an hour later, I woke up from a dream to enter a nightmare coming to life. Jen was in the bathroom and bleeding badly. We called the ER and they told her just to drink some water and if it gets worse to come in. Five minutes later, we were on the way to the hospital. I was speeding and Jen was in major pain...something I was expecting to do 20 weeks later. When we finally got to the hospital, the best the nurses could do was try to ease her pain and stop her from bleeding. When they examined her more closely, her water was bulging so they leaned her on an incline to prevent that from breaking. The goal was to keep Baby Levi in Jen as long as possible because at 22 1/2 weeks, that margin for survial is 1%. I then went to call Jen's mom and then my dad. The second I hung up the phone with my dad, I thought I heard someone yelling. Immediately I thought to myself, please don't tell me that was my wife. As I got close to her room, I saw the nurses rushing in and Jen was in fact calling my name. When I entered the room, Jen's water had busted. That's all she said...she knew it without a nurse having to tell her. At this point, you can imagine all the thoughts going through her head and mine...(and I know it wasn't my fault but to this day I regret not being able to be there at that moment when that horrific event came upon her). After she was cleaned and put on more pain meds, I asked her if she wanted me to call her brother and his wife. So I stepped out the room and called Lindsey, Jen's sister-in-law. When I started to explain to Lindsey what had happend, I was barely able to put sentences or words together due to an overwhelming emotion of reality setting in. Lindsey told me she and Mike (Jen's brother for those who don't know) were coming...with their son Max of course. They arrived and provided some much needed support. Mike informed me too that I could baptize our son. They left the room after a while so that Jen could try and get somewhat of a rest with the meds she was on. Lindsey called Jen's parents with an update and they were going to come down from Madison, MS (3 hours away) when Jen's dad could get off of work. My parents also came down to the hospital and just took the day off of work. Their support was greatly appreciated as well. While Jen layed there, I took some water and made the sign of the cross over her stomache where Levi was and baptized him while I knew he was living. All of this by the way took place in the early morning hours of course which made the night seem that much longer. I don't remember what time it was when the doctor on call arrived to see Jen. She was very sweet and considerate but made it well clear that Jen might deliver the baby during one of her painful contractions and not even know it. Unlike some doctors, she sympathized with us and really seemed to care. We were constantly asked too if it was our first pregnancy and when we said yea, the nurses seemed to know where the end result lied. Sometime after the doctor had left, Jen felt a really big push and she thought she pushed the baby out. Freaking out, I lifted the towel and saw a huge ball of blood. I hurried to get a nurse and Jen was pushing out blood clots. With an hour to go untill our actual doctor arrived, each moan from Jen had me checking her to see if anything had come. Around 7:15, our actual doctor arrived. And believe me, it was such a relief just to see him. I knew he would have a plan on what to do and sure enough, it was one I didn't really want to come to term with. When he went to observe Jen, he stuck his finger in her uterus, and started to pull out a little foot. I saw this, and at that time he said she needed to deliver right away. So they rolled my wife into the other room. They asked me if I wanted to go with her. Duh, I said yes...and they asked her as well. A nurse brought me scrubs and told me the following....she said there was a chance that the baby might not have a heartbeat because the placenta had ruptured. This is what caused the bleeding and contractions in the beginning. However, if the baby had a heartbeat, then they'd bring me back there. To this day, I don't see why I couldn't be there with my wife regardless. Anyway, they had every doctor there to be ready to treat Levi if it were possible. However, the result was as you know not the best. Our doctor came to me and explained all that happened and what he believed caused everything. He informed me that they put Jen to sleep to "clean" her out to prevent infection. Our doctor was very sympathetic as well and he did his best to give some hope to the situation from similar experiences he's witnessed. When he left the room, I went into the bathroom and did my best to hold myself together so that I could tell my parents and Mike and Lindsey. When I walked into the waiting room, all I could do was look at my parents and shake my head no. I showed tears that if anyone knows me, rarely sees. My dad and mom comforted me in their arms and all I could do was cry. My mom did her best to give me hope and that helped a lot. I remember thinking during Jen's pregnancy on how I would react to my son's birth...would I be able to show outward love, feel a connection, etc. From the emotion that overcame me, I knew that I had a connection with my son. When Jen finally awoke, our doctor explained to her what he told me...and Jen's reaction is what I feared facing the most. I did my best to comfort her and hold her. Perhaps the next hardest part was being able to hold our son and see how he looked. I remember every detail of him....he had Jen's face and nose, my arms, her legs and toes...it was truly amazing. Like Jen mentioned in her blog, he was born at 7:37 am, weighed 1 lb 3 0z, and was 11 inches long. He was born on the 29th of December, and my birthday is on the 29th of May. Later tht morning, a chaplin came and performed a baptism that was truly heart-warming and emotional to say the least. We had a sense of closure with our son but we both knew it will never fully be closed.
I know what Jen and I went through was hard. I know God has plans for us. His path for us is not always an easy one. Your faith gets tested, your love gets shaken, and your hope gets shattered...but I know that God loves us. God always loves us. I don't know if Jen and I will ever know His reasons for what we went through, but even if we never find out, I know that He wants the best for us. It's hard not to forget the smells and actions that took place that morning. Everything I do can remind me of our son. His box filled with pictures and hospital clothes now sits on the same bookshelf in the the same hallway that we painted that previous day. His piggybank, which is more than halfway filled sits there too for our future children if we are blessed to have. I may have lost a son here on this earth, but I gained a guardian angel in heaven. I will always be a father and not "was a father." I love God, I love my wife, I love my son.